Emilie Beth Lindemann
Under a buffet of cole slaw, beeftips,
and mashed potatoes,
We’ll exchange vows
in a mobile home.
The Hochzeitsbitter* saw you
in your polar bear pajama pants.
The entire village approves.
They are only waiting to sit in your armchair
and matching ottoman,
for buttered haddock and chicken cordon bleu.
*In the 19th century, the Hochzeitsbitter was a man who went from house to house to announce a wedding. He wore a
“high hat which was decorated with colored ribbons and much gold paper.”—Pomeranian Customs.
A Ghazal for the Bride with Post-Wedding Blues
feel disappointed after their big day. Try to keep up with friends, establish
a work-out routine with your hubby,
The wedding is over, the bride may now begin her spinning.
Bring out the bacon, the frying pans, and soiled sheets.
The wedding is over, the bride may have her gown professionally cleaned.
May all your nights involve Sudoku puzzles.
The wedding is over, the bride can roll up clean underwear
and ball socks together to create onions for his steak.
The wedding is over, the bride may now take down her knot.com profile.
And retreat to cellars for heads of lettuce and shriveled grapes.
The wedding is over, the bride can stop dieting, and let her skin go pale.
Piece together rye bread, sauer kraut, and smoked turkey with swiss.
The wedding is over, the bride can unveil her sweatpants.
She can trace long snakes of stretch marks to spell out “boredom” and “loneliness.”
The wedding is over, the bride can cut off her hair and paint her fingernails purple.
Tell the groom to strip off his cummerbund so she can catch her clippings and drippings.
The wedding is over, the bride can climb out of her papasan chair
And rollerblade down hills and into a deep valley.
Keep the Mystery
Dr. Cassel says she’s found that men
prefer a bit of mystery about their wives
Sew something sweet into the lining of your uterus,
perhaps. Or practice reading handwritten letters
you write to yourself in the dark of your living room
when he is golfing with his buddies or sleeping.
Some men dream of sneaking up to their wives
as they tremble on red mohair sofas, sleeping
alone in the land of a shape-shifting uterus.
Sometimes a husband will stand there, chanting the letters
“oooh” and “eeeeh” and “in the bedroom.”
I recommend fluttering your eyelids in albumen.
What happens when another woman flings him her uterus?
When he finds you mouthing other names and sliding magnetic letters
on your shared refrigerator, spelling out calls for midwives
to massage you until your legs are a wide V with room
enough for secret babies to burst an imaginary hymen?
You should have continued breathing softly and sleeping,
humming lines from his earlier love letters
he’s since forgotten. You could have summoned wives
from other planets to protect the sanctity of your uterus.
Women from Saturn tease their men,
forgoing the ceremony to jump over a broom,
they retreat stealthily and seductively to separate spaces, sleeping
soundlessly, without ever knowing the feel of each other’s uteruses.
They breathe water, methane, and ammonia, etching letters
on abdomens and thighs, backlit by pink bulbs in a spacious bathroom.
Entire families have whispered lives while you were sleeping--
Cucumbers keeping your pupils from other men.
You wouldn’t want to bake casseroles to be their wives.
Dr. Cassel reclines on gilded benches in urban settings; men
wonder which of the bold letters
spell the touches that make her uterus
into a woman entwining fingers with their wives’
pale hands seated upright in rigid living rooms.
She declines eye contact, hiding behind polarized sunglasses as if sleeping.
Arrange to meet your husband in a sparsely decorated public restroom;
lean against the urinal and tell him nothing. Whisper, wives.
Float off to a secret planet while he gropes for raised Braille letters.
Emilie Beth Lindemann’s chapbook, Dear Minimum Wage Employee, You Are Priceless is forthcoming from dancing girl press.